Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke MP today announced The Athenium Theatre has successfully secured $48,800 in funding as part of the first round of the NSW Government’s $100m Regional Cultural Fund (RCF).

“This $48,800 will go towards installing new lighting and sound, at that professional quality we’re really after which will take this place to the next level,” Ms Cooke said.

“Junee Shire Council have done an amazing job with this application, it was so easy to support.

“This has been a great win for Junee and great example of the community having a vision to establish a strong cultural identity,” she said.

Junee Mayor Neil Smith recognised the hard work of the community in restoring and saving the theatre.

“Council’s put $10,000 in as well to support this project. It is, as I’ve said many times, the jewel in Junee’s crown,” Cr Smith said.

“Behind me are some of the very passionate people who have supported the theatre over many years and brought it to the condition it’s in today.

“There really is a lot of wow factor, it’s a place for community and for life, and we’ve certainly invested in it here in Junee.”

Friends of the Athenium Committee president Virginia Stewart said the theatre may now again see greats grace its stage.

“They had one of the greatest soprano singers in the world, Gladys Moncreiff perform here in the 1930s, she came with a whole entourage with trucks lining the streets packed with all her gear,” Ms Stewart said.

“In its own right it’s a beautiful theatre but it didn’t have the technical requirements, so this announcement is massive.

“Upgrading the theatre technically will obviously draw more performances here, but socially it will have a far greater effect.”

The Athenium is one of 68 projects from 12 regions across NSW, sharing in close to $50 million in the first round of grants.

RCF funds will go towards projects ranging from the construction of new exhibition and performing arts spaces, to the refurbishment of libraries and museums and smaller, grass-roots community projects.

Applications will soon be invited for the next round of funding through the scheme. Further information about the RCF is available at www.nsw.gov.au/regionalculturalfund or email regional@arts.nsw.gov.au